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Ownership and Outcomes: The Case of Lakes and Wetlands in India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Sanchayan, Nath
Conference: Mini-Conference of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis
Location: Bloomington, IN
Conf. Date: December
Date: 2012
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10063
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Abstract: "Scholars, over the centuries, have argued over the varied sources of legitimacy of property – God, nature, human nature and work ethic, the monarchy, the State, civil society, informal communal norms, laws created by society. Scholars have referred to these sources of legitimacy to justify their ideological stances on the relative merits of private, public or common property. In each case, other scholars have taken contrarian, well-argued positions to refute the stance adopted by their ideological opponents. I try to relate these theoretical arguments to empirical studies on lakes and wetlands in India. I use case studies on lakes in Bangalore and in Hyderabad to study the changing fortunes of lakes which were initially administered under common property regimes and were then nationalized, to understand why and how the characteristics of these lakes changed post nationalization. I draw upon Ostrom’s (2009) SES framework to conclude that, irrespective of the ideological stances, the change in the underlying variables such ‘the importance of the lakes to users’, ‘norms/social capital’, ‘collective-choice rules’ and ‘knowledge of the SES’ too could have contributed to the present dismal condition of the lakes."

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